Nikulina Elena

Stylistic features of Karelian icon painting of the 17th — 18th centuries based on the material of hagiographic icons dedicated to st. Nicholas

Nikulina Elena (2023) "Stylistic features of Karelian icon painting of the 17th — 18th centuries based on the material of hagiographic icons dedicated to st. Nicholas ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia V : Voprosi istorii i teorii hristianskogo iskusstva, 2023, vol. 51, pp. 142-154 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturV202351.142-154


This article analyzes the cult painting of Karelia of the XVII–XVIII centuries on the examples of hagiographic icons dedicated to St. Nicholas. It was in these monuments that an artistic variety of forms emerged, which represented a bizarre combination of new techniques and traditional archaic features. A significant role in updating the visual structure of icons was formed by the Baroque. In the design of architecture, in the technique of writing the open parts of the figure of the Saint, the desire to realize intricate elements was manifested, in particular, the S-shaped line became a marker of the "local" Baroque. Among the isographers, a more refined color, consisting of blue and pink shades, was recognized, and the landscape and the animal world began to play the role of the main subject of the narrative. Some changes have also taken place in the composition, they touched the direct perspective. In icons with folklore semantics, painterly-plastic unity was preserved. This idea was convincingly revealed in the color, the peculiar interpretation of the image of the Saint and the themes caused by the everyday impressions of the northern man. The experience of this study idea to expand the understanding of Karelian icon painting of the late Middle Ages. In contrast to the cult painting of the early period, in the works of the 17th-18th centuries, new trends had a significant impact on the style of icons. But despite this, archetypal artistic thinking and everyday practical experience allowed to save the pre-emptive right to further self-affirmation.


кarelian icon painting of the XVII–XVIII centuries, hagiographic icons, St. Nicholas, baroque, decorative and applied art, imitating nature features, stylistic interactions, archaic views


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Information about the author

Nikulina Elena

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Art Criticism;
Place of work: Petrozavodsk State Conservatory; 16 Leningradskaya Str., Petrozavodsk, 185031, Russian Federation;
Post: associate professor, Department of the humanities;
ORCID: 0009-0001-1159-0566;
Email: lennikulun@yandex.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.